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By Marco Pallis

Essays distilling a life of notion and perform through one of many earliest explorers of either the actual panorama of Tibet in addition to it Vajrayana culture.

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With these people ‘merit,’ good karma, comes to be regarded wholly in a quantitative sense, rather as if it could be meted out by the pound, a matter of manipulating a neat double-column balance sheet in such a way as not to leave oneself too heavily in debt. They forget the common dictum about ‘human birth hard to obtain’ and the Buddha’s parable about the purblind turtle swimming in a vast ocean where there is also a piece of floating wood with a hole in it. He estimated any particular being’s chances of obtaining a human birth as about equal to the likelihood of that turtle pushing its head through that hole.

Qxd 9/16/2003 4:18 PM Page 32 A Buddhist Spectrum First the bell: this always bears the same devices and is cast in a special alloy yielding a clear and beautiful note (‘the voice of wisdom’); as we have seen, the bell belongs to the female partner in the association. Its handle is crowned with the goddess-like head of Prajna Paramita, Wisdom Transcendent, here equated with Tara, the mother of Bodhisattvas or beings dedicated to Enlightenment who, in the Tibetan tradition, reproduces many of the characteristics which, in the Christian tradition, are associated with Mary— a case of spiritual coincidence, certainly not of historical borrowing.

It does not ‘think’; it sees. The catalysing of this power to see, which everyone bears within himself whether he be aware of it or not, is the aim of all spiritual method, its only aim.

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